Maybe Viewers Need A TV Super App

In China there are many "super apps" — which can do a number of things not always related to one another.

For example, China’s Meituan Dianping is growing fast. This app, which started as a food-delivery service, now includes more than 30 services: restaurant reviews, reservations, movie tickets, home rentals, hotel bookings, payments, travel booking, food delivery and grocery ordering.

Many think the U.S. has similar apps, including Amazon. (The company did, however, discontinue its food-delivery service.)

In TV land, there is the belief that one's niche is the right way to go -- especially when it comes to specific programming.

How many different apps do we need? Are there many successful individual comedy TV series apps, drama apps, a reality TV app, a kids programming app? Some, like NBCU’s failed Seeso, which focused on comedy, couldn’t make a go of it.



Recently, we have seen AT&T’s WarnerMedia reverse plans to offer three different OTT digital video premium services. Now the plan is to offer just one, at around $16 a month. Perhaps it wants to create a clear, competitive distinction with Netflix, which has a wide variety of TV series -- except sports. In general, Netflix avoids the whole “live” TV genre.

Walt Disney has also been touting three different OTT services — ESPN+, Hulu and the forthcoming Disney+ — and considering selling all three in a package.

But perhaps consumers want more.

Entertainment consumers will be looking for easier ways to find the shows they want -- on any platform.

Maybe we need a TV "super app" to handle all this — one that offers a broad array of TV series and movies, full industry-wide program guide information, and the ability to buy TV sets and connected TV services and can also facilitate pizza delivery, the Amazon Alexa interface, and party services to invite friends for those big special events like the the Oscars, the last episode of a series like “Games of Thrones” or the Super Bowl.

The future of consumer TV entertainment packaging is probably "super." And it will be in an app.

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